• Barbara Denny

Reiki Principle #2

Do not be Angry

When I discuss this principle on a Reiki course, the reaction isn’t always positive. We seem to be hugely resistant to either accepting or confronting anger. Quite a few people have suggested rewording the principle. They would prefer to repeat ‘I am calm’ or ‘I am peaceful’ or ‘I am relaxed.’ Simply repeating ‘Do not be angry’ can make us feel uncomfortable. The negative phrasing brings up anger rather than suppressing it. But that is exactly what it is designed to do! This principle isn’t an affirmation. It isn’t designed to airbrush, suppress or negate anger – it’s meant to bring it up! In order to deal with it, we need to be aware of it. After repeating ‘Do not be angry’ a few times, a student of mine once started crying. Memories of a huge confrontation with her mother flashed up – from 15 years before! She was shocked to find that this incident was still so ingrained in her subconscious that a simple exercise could bring it up. But Reiki had finally brought her the strength to deal with it. Harboring anger is never beneficial, either for the person holding on to it (it makes us both miserable and ill) or for the person at whom it is eventually directed. The Buddha concluded: ‘You will not be punished for your anger; you will be punished by your anger.’ The principle does not say: ‘Handle your anger.’ Nor: ‘Share your anger.’ It says: ‘Do not be angry.’ Which means: ‘Be something else.’ It reminds us that we have a choice. Anger is triggered by disappointment, shock, insecurity – or just being interrupted. We were expecting something that turned out to be different. So what happens then? The chemicals that are subsequently released and that make us ‘feel’ anger are dealt with by the body quite quickly. They are completely flushed out of our system in less than 90 seconds.4 All we need to do is take a deep breath and hold on for a minute – and our response to the situation doesn’t need to be directed by anger, but by whatever we choose to replace it with. Can we change the situation? Can we change our attitude? Learn for next time? Accept? Forgive? Or, maybe, take action? Does our anger lead us to make the world a better place? Now anger turns into something useful: a tool for change. And there’s no need to hold on to it. This Reiki principle offers the opportunity to react differently.

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